Jeep Compass (2011–2014)

Model History

April 2011

The new Compass goes on sale in UK

Heralds the Fiat-owned future future for the Jeep brand. First new generation Jeep to offer two-wheel drive versions. The Compass now has a "premium feel" due to improved interior quality Grand Cherokee inspired looks. High levels of specification for the price. The new-for-2011 Jeep Compass has undergone a comprehensive redesign inside and out to appeal to a wider customer base. It blends high equipment levels, affordability, interior flexibility and economy, with a sophisticated design, revised chassis, advanced new line-up of engines and a completely revised cabin.

Prices from from £16,995 to £23,995 OTR. Four trim levels. High end 4x4 Limited and 70thAnniversary versions on sale April 2011. Entry-level Sport and Sport+ from August 2011. Three different engines, two petrol and one diesel. These have four power outputs and offer significantly improved performance and economy over the engines they replace.

The Limited and 70thAnniversary models get a chrome exhaust tailpipe and sit on new-look 18-inch alloy wheels. The Sport and Sport+ sit on 17-inch alloys as standard.

There is now soft touch padded trim on the upper surface of the front doors. And the new centre armrest has undergone a similar treatment and now has a split lid for additional storage. The luxury feel goes further still with standard fit cruise control along with backlit switches for the door handles and locks, power mirrors and windows. And safety is a given with active front headrests, and next-generation multi-stage front airbags with side curtain front and rear airbags as standard.

Every model has automatic climate control, apart from the Sport which features manual air-conditioning. Front seat passengers sit in sumptuously padded bucket seats, covered in leather with accent stitching in the Limited and 70thAnniversary models, premium cloth in other versions. A six-way power adjustable driver’s seat and heated front seats are standard in the Limited and 70thAnniversary.

All models feature chrome rings surrounding the air vents, while illuminated cupholders in the centre console emphasise the feeling of quality already given by the leather wrapped handbrake and steering wheel. The driver looks at LED backlit gauges in the instrument binnacle and holds a new Jeep steering wheel. This adjusts for rake and features integrated controls that allow operation of the sound system, cruise control and handsfree phone.

Electric windows are standard throughout, with the driver’s a one-touch for added convenience. The folding mirrors too are electrically operated and heated and there’s remote central locking. Inside, the electronic vehicle information centre incorporates a trip computer and displays crucial stats such as average mpg, distance to empty, a compass, and the outside temperature.

The padded armrest over the centre console slides up to three inches to suit all shapes and sizes. And the storage bin it covers is cavernous. Handily, it contains a 12-volt power socket for charging mobile phones and MP3 players. Because Jeep appreciates that a family car can never have enough storage space, there’s a generous glove box and an extra large bin above it along with usefully sized door pockets.

Sport and Sport+ models feature a Media Centre CD player and MP3 compatibility, while the Limited and 70thAnniversary add a six CD system. All models come with four speakers and an audio jack for connecting MP3 players. Owners of Sport+ models and above have a USB socket and can connect their mobile phones and use them handsfree with Uconnect Bluetooth.

The Uconnect sound and navigation system is available as an option on Limited and 70thAnniversary versions, featuring a 30-gigabyte hard drive which can store thousands of songs and allow operators to format playlists, and view picture files and videos. The user-friendly Uconnect, operated via a 6.5-inch touch screen, also incorporates a navigation system with real-time traffic information.

The petrol engines have a capacity of either 2.0 or 2.4-litres and are Chrysler’s adaptable ‘World Engines’. Both these units feature dual Variable Valve Timing on the twin overhead camshafts. This electronically controlled timing produces more power, better fuel economy and smoother, quieter operation. Proving their cutting edge credentials, the engines also feature an aluminium block, four valves per cylinder, forged crankshaft and connecting rods, and intake manifold and exhaust flow control valves. These engines are expected to make up around 35 per cent of sales.

The 2.0-litre petrol engine comes with a five-speed manual gearbox while the diesel cars all feature a smooth shifting six-speed manual. The 2.4-litre is the only engine in the range available with the CVT2 Continuously Variable Transmission. All cars feature electronic throttle control in place of the mechanical throttle linkage. This gives a seamless and consistent engine response and integrates with technologies such as the variable camshaft timing to improve fuel economy.

The 2.4 petrol and 2.2CRD high output engines both feature Jeep’s Freedom Drive I. This is a full-time active four-wheel drive system featuring a locking mode that gives owners reassuring performance in low traction conditions. For normal driving, power is sent to the front wheels in order to save fuel. But the system automatically shifts power from the front axle to the rear axle as needed, (when wheel slippage is detected), using an Electronically Controlled Clutch. The system also features a locking function to send an equal amount of power to the front and rear for maximum traction in demanding terrain.

This takes the form of a lockable centre coupling. Pulling up on the chrome T handle on the centre console disables the automatic function and enforces a torque split of 50-50 between front and rear wheels, enabling the driver to cope with deep snow, sand or other slippery surfaces.

On two wheel drive versions there’s up to 209mm of ground clearance, which gives the Compass an ability to ford water that’s up to 279mm deep. On top of that, a 20-degree approach angle, 20-degree breakover angle and 32-degree departure angle ensure that even with two-wheel drive only, this machine is as competent in the rough as many rivals’ four-wheel drive offerings.

Safety cage structure with an ultra high strength roll-formed steel cross beam and front crumple zones. Side impact beams are built into the doors for improved protection and there are advanced multi-stage front airbags. These adjust their output according to the severity of the impact and work with side curtain airbags at the front and rear. The new Compass also features new active head restraints built into the front seats to help limit whiplash injuries.

Independent suspension all round has new higher spring and damping rates, added rebound springs and a larger diameter rear anti-roll bar to improve refinement and ride quality. It also enhances the driving experience and ensures that the Compass reacts instantly and predictably to driver inputs.

MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension are tuned for superior ride, handling and noise reduction. And to ensure the driver maintains control, even during extreme manoeuvres, Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM) anticipates the potential for wheel lift by monitoring the driver’s steering wheel input and the speed of the vehicle. When ERM determines that the rate of change of the steering wheel angle and the vehicle’s speed are sufficient to potentially cause wheel lift, it applies the brake of the appropriate wheel and may also reduce engine power. ERM will only intervene during very severe or evasive driving manoeuvres.

This system works alongside Electronic Stability Control which monitors and responds to wheel slippage and is standard throughout the range. It’s also switchable, so more enthusiastic drivers can limit the electronic intervention for improved progress off-road.

What does a Jeep Compass (2011 – 2014) cost?

List Price from £26,105
Buy new from £20,995
Contract hire from £232.69 per month